Taft College men’s soccer coach Angelo Cutrona likes the position his team is in as the Central Valley Conference season winds down and playoffs loom.
After playing ties with Fresno and West Hills-Lemoore, the Cougars finished the first half of CVC action with a 6-0 victory at College of the Sequoias last Friday.
That sets up the final push the defending champion Cougars hope will catapult them into a high seed for the playoffs.
The challenge is a hefty one because those two ties came on the Cougars’ home field and they will have to get even on the road, beginning Friday when they travel to Lemoore.
“We must win against West Hills,” Cutrona said. “A tie won’t be beneficial to us. We need to take care of them to have another must-win against Fresno (a week later).
“I like the situation we are in at this point because it gets you motivated and gives you momentum going into the playoffs.”
Cutrona also likes the fact the Cougars have a pair of non-conference matches intermingled with the final conference push.
In between the West Hills and Fresno games the Cougars will host Allan Hancock College next Tuesday and play at San Bernardino Valley College a week later before finishing off the regular season at home Nov. 15 against Sequoias.
Playoffs begin Nov. 23.
“The most important thing for us now is that out of the five games we have left three are must-win, but that’s not a bad situation,” Cutrona said.
The Cougars also hope to have team leader Gerardo Gonzalez back for the final push after missing the past few weeks with a high ankle sprain.
TC spread the wealth around in the shutout over Sequoias with six different players getting goals and three earning assists.
“It’s good to see that we really passed, moved and shared the ball around,” Cutrona said.
Sequoias came out defending from the start.
“They closed it up,” he said. “That makes it difficult to score when they have all 11 back playing defense. We made sure we weren’t going to get exposed in the back and let them sneak in for a goal because we were pushing numbers forward.”
But once the Cougars scored the pressure was on the Giants.
“Once we got that first goal it opened up the field even more,” Cutrona said.
Oscar Torres got his fifth goal of the season, Anthony Ulloa and Jose Barrajas each scored their third and Jesus Garcia, Jesus Villalpondo and Jose Tobar each earned their first.
Page 2 of 2 - Diego Casillas earned his second assist and Jorge Renaga and Rogelio Santiago each recorded their first.
J.D. Cisneros and Marco Vieyra split the goaltending chores. Each recorded a save.